Centre defends death by hanging in SC, says it's quicker and safer than other forms of execution

The Centre has defended death by hanging as a means of execution, and said it was safer and quicker than administering lethal injection or death by firing squad.

The Centre was responding to a plea seeking an alternate method of execution, other than hanging.

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Representational image. PTI

As reported by Live Law, the Centre also said it didn't want to make the execution "overly comfortable", since it's a punishment meant to be handed out only in the rarest of rare cases because the crime is barbaric and abhorrent in nature. An overly comfortable punishment, it argued, would reduce the deterrence.

The Centre also argued that these were sensitive issues which are exclusively a matter of legislative policy and ought not to be entertained in a PIL.

It was responding to the original petition filed by Supreme Court advocate Rishi Malhotra, which called death by hanging a painful method, and said there needs to be an alternative which would provide for a more "dignified" form of death.

As reported by NDTV in October  when the petition was filed, Malhotra called hanging a convict to death a violation of the right to life which included right to a dignified death. He called hanging the "most cruel and inhuman" form of execution. "Execution should be as quick and as simple as possible, and should not prolong someone's trauma", he said.

He added that it takes over 40 minutes to declare a prisoner dead when s/he is hanged, but it's over in a few minutes in case of a firing squad or lethal injection.

In response, the Supreme Court urged the Centre to respond with a counter-affidavit which will mention if there are other ways of carrying out the death sentence. While clarifying that it wasn't concerned with the validity of the death sentence, the court stressed that it only wanted a more humane manner of executing convicts.

"The legislature may think of other modes by which a convict has to face death sentence to die in peace but not in pain, for it has been said for centuries nothing can be equated to painless death. We are absolutely conscious that our Constitution is a compassionate Constitution which recognises sanctity of life", the court said in October.


Updated Date: Apr 24, 2018 13:49 PM

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